Switzerland's last cellulose manufacturer is on the point of collapse, as managers admitted on Monday that it will never be profitable.
The Norwegian parent company of the Borregaard pulp mill in canton Solothurn said that it was unlikely that investors would be found to take the mill over. The 440 workers are set to lose their jobs.
"This is very sad for us all, and we very much regret this development," said Jorn Syvertsen, president of the board of directors for Borregaard Switzerland.
The company, based in Riedholz, is likely to close in mid-December. High costs for fuel and raw materials conspired with lacklustre Asian sales to bring about the company's downfall.
Company officials said their first priority is to support affected workers with severance packages and helping them find work elsewhere.
The Norwegian Borregaard concern bought the mill, formerly known as Atisholz, six years ago from entrepreneur Christoph Blocher, who later became Switzerland's justice minister.
Blocher sold the company for SFr130 million ($87.7 million in mid-2002 dollars). He said at the time that Atisholz was unprofitable.
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